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Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: USA Films
Kiddie Movie: Don't even think of bringing them.
Date Movie: She might hate it or be enlightened.
Gratuitous Sex: The drug czar's daughter whores herself out for drug money.
Gratuitous Violence: Some explosions and dudes getting shot in the back of the head.
Action: Ehh.
Laughs: Only if you're sick.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Produced By: Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Laura Bickford

A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:27 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
The best movie ever! The best movie of the year! Youíve got to go see this movie! They said the same thing about "The Blair Witch Project." This time the buzz revolves around "Traffic" and all Iíve got to say is itís no "Dude, Whereís My Car?" (Yes, if you read my review of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" you will notice the similarity in opening paragraphs. My feelings are the same on both so why try a different opening line?)

"Traffic" tells three stories of how the war on drugs isnít working which most normal people realize yet politicians donít want to address. One story involves Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas). Heís the new US drug czar, thinks he can make a difference, and then gets to find out that his daughter is right in the middle of the war with her own drug problem. Story Two revolves around Javier (Benicio Del Toro) and Manolo (Jacob Vargas), two cops in Tijuana who get wrapped up with a Mexican army General who wants to cripple one of the Mexican drug cartels and blackmails them into helping. And Story Three has Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of a drug trafficker who gets busted by the DEA and she is hell-bent on getting him out of jail.

Through the two and a half hours we get to see Wakefield realize that maybe one of the reasons the war on drugs isnít working is that no one has any new ideas on how to fight the problem (a great scene on his airplane when he opens the floor for ideas, saying no idea is stupid and every idea should be heard, yet no one speaks up). Then there is the spiraling down of his daughter from an occasional user with her high school friends to being strung out and selling her body for money for drugs. While Wakefield has his problems Javier just wants Tijuana to be a nicer place to live. He thinks that by maybe helping the General take down the one cartel that things might get better, realizes the General is an asshole, and then realizes his information might be more valuable to the U.S. drug folks and all he really wants in return in a lighted baseball field so the kids can play in safety. Too bad his buddy, Manolo, doesnít know how to work the system.

So weíve got Wakefield trying to find his daughter who is whoring herself out, weíve got Javier practically shitting his pants standing in front of the grave he just dug for himself, and now weíve got Helena walking up to the DEA surveillance van offering the agents some lemonade and asking them to watch out for bad men who might try to kidnap her son. Sheís a smart cookie, though, taking the advice from her husband in jail and knowing exactly what needs to be done to get hubby out of jail and who can do the job.

This is not a happy movie, nor should it be. But is it the best movie? I didnít think so. I thought it was good, maybe a little too artsy (I really didnít need each of the different stories shot in a different tint: sepia for the Mexican side, blue for Wakefield, and bright colors for Helena. I could easily tell what story line was being told without the color difference), and just a tad too long. I suppose it needed to be to tell the three stories, but towards the end I didnít really care about the characters and I already got the message that the drug problem isnít getting better. Two and a half hours of, in the end, depressing stories, (sure, Javier got his baseball field, but did it really make a dent in the drug traffic), thatís what you should expect from "Traffic."

Iíll give "Traffic" 4 stars out of 5 because the acting was good by just about everyone in their respective roles, the story perspectives were interesting especially how they intertwined, but I didnít leave the theater with the "Best movie of the year" feeling that others keep saying it is.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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